BBC Horizon: Atlantis Uncovered and Altantis Reborn, 28 October & 4 November 1999

Formal Letter of Complaint from Robert Bauval to the BBC

To Bettina Lerner, Series Editor, Horizon:
From Robert G. Bauval
6 November 1999

Dear Bettina Lerner

BBC2 Horizon, Atlantis Reborn, 4 November 1999, 9.30 PM.

In the above TV programme the astronomer Edwin Krupp (of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles) was interviewed by Chris Hale and Julian Hudson of the Horizon team in connection with the star correlation theory detailed in my book, THE ORION MYSTERY. Dr. Krupp is shown in an office holding a copy of my book opened to show plates 6 and 7. According to Krupp, plate 6 showing the three Pyramids of Giza (actually an aerial photograph) was deliberately placed "upside down" to fraudulently induce the reader into seeing a correlation with the three stars of Orion’s belt on plate 7. It was strongly implied, if not actually stated, that this was some sort of con in order to dupe the public in believing there was a connection between the pyramid layout and the stars. Had the BBC team bother to read THE ORION MYSTERY, they would have seen that the issue of the direction of the map of Egypt made to face south is clearly indicated in Illustration 2 showing a map of Egypt where the caption states " Map of Egypt looking south along the Nile Valley". As for plates 6 and 7, contrary to what Dr. Krupp said, both photographs are "looking south" (hence the visual correlation). The original of plate 6 was taken in 1953 by the Egyptian airforce and is displayed in full in my book KEEPER OF GENESIS (plate 23). It is plain to anyone that in order for the smaller pyramid to be on ‘top’ of the photograph, one must by necessity be looking southward. The same applies to the three stars of Orion’s belt: in order for the photograph to be taken showing the smaller (dimmer star) at the ‘top’, one must by necessity be looking southward. Indeed it is impossible to take a photograph of Orion’s belt by looking northward! For a science department such as Horizon not to realise this is derisory. If anyone is conning the public in this matter, then it is certainly not I. Edwin Krupp is, in this matter, referring to a modern convention in mapping celestial objects by having down and up being denoted by ‘south and north’ respectively –a convention, quite obviously, that the ancients of Egypt, or anywhere else, did not have. On the other hand there is plenty of Egyptological evidence to confirm that the ancient Egyptians directed themselves southwards both in mapping their land and in drawing celestial maps. There is, in fact, a depiction of Orion’s belt in the tomb of Senmut which show these stars in exactly the same way and direction which plate 7 has them. Check it out in THE ORION MYSTERY illustration 9. At any rate, the southward ground-sky correlation is clearly shown in plate 16 of my book (see also plates 18). The same can be clearly seen in KEEPER OF GENESIS in illustrations 21, 23, 24, 26, 30, 31, 36, 47, 56, 58, 59, 60,65 and 74. Since the latter book was co-authored with Graham Hancock (the main component of the Horizon Atlantis Reborn programme) then the BBC team has absolutely no excuse for not being aware of this. At any rate, the BBC team was not only fully aware of this, but actually had on film a detailed interview on this matter given by me to Chris Hale at Giza to be used in his programme Atlantis Reborn. Furthermore the BBC itself produced a full length documentary in 1994, THE GREAT PYRAMID: Gateway to the Stars (producer/Director Chris Mann) which is based on THE ORION MYSTERY and which carefully explained the southward direction of the Giza map and the star-map in clear, detailed graphics. Indeed in the BBC US version shown on the A & E channel, this issue is carefully demonstrated by rotating a map of Egypt from north to south so that there is absolutely no doubt in the viewers minds. This programme was shown on several occasions in the US as from January 1995 until recently and was seen by Edwin Krupp and millions of other Americans. Two prominent astronomers participated in this programme, Dr. Mary Bruck of Edinburgh Univesiry and Dr. Virginia Trimble of Maryland University (who actually discovered the Orion’s belt alignment with the southern shaft of the Great Pyramid in 1964). There was absolutely no doubt in the minds of these astronomers that the Orion-Giza correlation was shown by looking south. Any amateur astronomer with a basic knowledge of stellar observation will know this without too much explanation.

Actually if one accepts Dr. Krupp’s reasoning, then every photograph, every painting, every diagram of a vertical object positioned south and now hanging in National Galleries, museums, and private homes is "upside down" and must be "wrong". This is because any object standing vertically against the skyline —such as an office block or a tower or a chimney– has it ‘top’ pointing to the ‘opposite’ direction if one applies the astronomical convention i.e. one must extend the top of the object over the head of an observer (looking south) across the apparently vaulted sky and finally reach a point directly behind the observer. The same ridiculous argument would apply for an observer looking west, or east. Come to that, in any direction. Imagine if this convention was applied to photographs of aeroplanes, hot air balloons etc… Krupp’s critique is a cheap trick of perception given credibility by being backed by the weight of his academic credentials and the time allocated to him by the BBC. It is unworthy of much serious scientific consideration. At least certainly not in the manner it was used by the BBC horizon team. At any rate, the right thing to do, in view of the serious allegations made by Krupp, would have been for the BBC to explain the point very carefully –as I said, the BBC had in-house all the graphics and commentaries they needed– and allow me (as they agreed to do when I participated in the making of the Horizon documentary), the right of reply which was already given to Chris Hale and recorded on camera several months before the broadcast of the Atlantis Reborn piece. What has happened is not only deceitful but unethical and outside the standards of the BBC. This was a messy and deliberate hatchet job most unbecoming of the BBC and most damaging, may I add, to my reputation and integrity as an international author. We have received angry letters from people who have bought our books believing, because of the BBC Horizon documentary Atlantis Reborn, that they have been ‘conned’ and "cheated" by us and some have even stated that they have thrown the books in the dustbin and will not buy another book by us again. Since I have a new book coming out in a few weeks (SECRET CHAMBER published by Random House UK), this is extremely damaging to me. As evidence of this, the new book, which is already on sale on amazon UK, has plummeted from rating position 456 to position 3700 after the showing of the Horizon Atlantis Reborn documentary. I am presently carefully looking into this matter to be taken to the Complaints
Department of the BBC for arbitration.

The same applies to the critical comments based on Dr. Fairall’s views regarding the alignment of the Giza Pyramids and Orion’s belt. I attach my letter to Chris Hale for your attention and records:

Dear Chris and Julian,

Let me just start my correspondence to you with this: You had promised me –indeed in writing and recorded conversation– a fair and honest venting of my views and especially the right of reply to criticism about my theories. Very simply, you did not keep that promise. In fact worse. You allowed my critics (which you obviously favour) all the time and means to make their attack, while on the other hand you refrained from showing and/or stating my response to such criticism. This not only is in breach of you covenant and contract with me, but also, I am told, in breach of the BBC dedication to fairness and balanced reporting. It is clear to me now that you set out from the outset to do a debunking and hatchet job on Graham Hancock and thus geared your editing work to carry out this objective in the most unfair manner. For me, I always trusted the BBC as being an institution accountable to the public and tax-payers which was duty-bound to give a ‘fair trial’ to the man in the street as well as reporting issues in a balanced manner, with both opposing view given equal opportunity to voice their case. What you have done has destroyed this trust. Let me elucidate the various points where such a breach was committed in you Atlantis programmes:

  1. 1. Dr. Edwin Krupp brought an argument that the maps of Egypt and the Pyramids were deliberately placed ‘upside down’ in my book, The Orion Mystery, to make my theory ‘fit’. This is a pretty serious allegation to make. You interviewed me on this point at Giza in January 1999, where I gave my response to such an attack on camera to you. My friend and colleague John Lash was present and will vouch on this –notwithstanding also that the full interview was recorded on cassette tape. I was reassured by you that my reply would be aired. Why did you not aired it ? Why allow such a convoluted and damaging criticism to my work full exposure by Krupp to go through without airing my reply ? Can you explain this unscientific way of presenting an issue ?
  2. 2. Dr. Fairall brought an argument that the angle of Orion’s belt in 10,500 BC did not match that of the pyramids on the ground. In this particular matter I made it a point to discuss my reply with you on the phone in a detailed manner, and furthermore put my reply in writing to you, which you assured me would be used in the programme. I draw you attention to three emails sent to you on the 17-19th July 1999. Can you explain why you ignored these in your programme ? Also, on this point, you have shown a supposed angle of 38 degrees for the ground alignment of the Pyramids against a supposed 50 degrees alignment for the star alignment. Let me point out that the angle on the ground (which runs through the apex of the two larger pyramids) is close to 45 degrees, not 38. As for the angle of Orion’s belt (which run through the two larger stars) is (according to Fairall’s own calculation) is between 40 and 43 degrees, not 50. The 50 degrees are measured from meridian to horizontal, rather than from horizontal to the alignment of the stars. The way you presented the matter grossly exaggerates the deviation. But I guess you knew that, since I made this blatantly clear to you both in recorded telephone discussions and in writing more than three months before your programme was aired i.e. in July 1999.
  3. 3. In general, the Orion-Giza correlation theory is buttressed, inter alia, by two important facts which you quite deliberately decided to ignore or omit. These are (a) That in the Pyramid Texts the ‘pyramid-kings’ are associated to the constellation of Orion, identified to Osiris and (b) that the southern shaft of the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid was aligned to Orion’s belt in c. 2500 BC –the latter a discovery made by two academics, Dr. Virginia Trimble and Dr. Alexander Badawy, in 1964. Without these two important factors, the Orion connection with the Giza Pyramids cannot make sense to an uninformed viewer of your programme. I had given an extensive explanation of these matters in my interview to you. Why, again, did you chose not to air this ? Is this fair and scientific ? Surely not.

I could go on and on. The geological arguments in favour of an older Sphinx, for example, were totally ignored. As for the underwater ruins of Japan, you again only gave one (critical) view only –that of Dr. Schoch– and totally ignored any supporting views.

I am really saddened by the manner in which you produced this programme, and can only say at this stage that my esteem for the non-fiction programmes of the BBC has dropped considerably.

I would be grateful, in the meanwhile, if you could send me a full transcript –or recording– of the interview I gave in January to you on camera at Giza.


Robert G. Bauval

Perhaps you may have some early comments to make on the above. I’ll be glad to hear them.

Best Regards

Robert G. Bauval